Advertising
Advertising

15 Signs Of Negative People

15 Signs Of Negative People

Lack of confidence, gloom and doom, distrust, and anxiety are a toxic cocktail mix. You probably wonder how one person can survive with all that inside them! Yet, these negative people exist all around us and are impossible to avoid.

This is not to say that you will never have moments of despair, anxiety and discouragement. But as a positive person, you never let these thoughts take over your life. You live the four-to-one ratio: You generate four positive thoughts for every negative one, to keep situations from getting out of hand.

Below, you’ll find 15 signs of negative people, and see what makes them tick. You’ll discover why many people are unaware of their negativity and how it is ruining their lives – and everyone else’s. These warning signs will also teach you to be on the alert so that you can avoid falling into the black hole of negativity.

The 15 signs of negative people:

1. They always worry

Negative people survive on worry – a very unhealthy diet. This mindset is geared towards the need to feel protected and aware to an extreme degree. Practising mindfulness and staying in the present are great ways to squash worry.

Advertising

 “Whatever is going to happen will happen, whether we worry or not.” – Anna Monnar

2. They try to tell you what to do

When people start to tell you what you should do with your life, what house to buy or whether you should change your job, you can be sure they are in the negative squad. They do not realize it but this is a sure sign that they have not sorted out their own life issues. It is much easier to tell everyone else how to live their lives!

3. They live in the default position

There is a neurological explanation as to why some people end up being so negative. It has to do with the part of the brain called the amygdala, which functions as an alarm and is constantly on the look out for danger, fear and bad news. Scientists believe this to be the brain’s default position. In evolutionary terms, this is understandable; it is all part of the fear-flight mechanism in which the brain uses most of its neurons to keep up with all the bad news that is stored in the memory.

Positive people develop an ability to evaluate and face up to problems which can counteract this mechanism.

4. They enjoy secrecy

If you meet a negative person at a party, you may find the conversation rather tedious. Fearful of revealing too much information about themselves, they live in fear that doing so would be used against them in some way. They rarely think that what they share could be used in a positive light.

Advertising

If you find yourself becoming defensive and closed during conversation, think about possible reasons why.

5. They are pessimists

My mother was the world’s greatest pessimist. Spotting menacing clouds on the way to the beach, she would invariably say that the best of the day had gone. (I cannot remember any downpours when we had to return home.)

Negative people rarely envisage a happy outcome or great result. They always imagine that everything will go wrong.

6. They cannot limit their exposure to bad news

Negative people love coming into your cubicle and saying things like, “Have you heard the terrible news about….”, after which they fill you in on all the gory details. The tragedy is that overexposure to negative news affects a person more deeply than was previously thought. Research has shown that media exposure to violence, death and tragedy contributes to depression and anxiety, as well as to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It colors a negative person’s outlook on life.

That is why you should limit the amount of news you watch on television and on your PC. Difficult? Perhaps. But essential if you are to remain positive.

Advertising

7. They have very thin skin

Those who are negative are likely to be over sensitive to criticism, even taking compliments the wrong way. They interpret innocent remarks as being condescending or rude. For example, a negative person may find jokes about short people offensive because they are not very tall themselves.

8. They complain a lot

Negative people tend to whine a lot, convinced that the whole world is against them. They are usually the victim of lousy weather, a difficult boss, bad luck, and their upbringing. They rarely step back to look at other factors – such as a lack of energy, creativity or simply hard work.

9. They never move outside their comfort zone

Moving outside the familiar world is anathema to those who are negative. They cannot face the possibility of more fear, discomfort, challenges or failure. They are thus never able to try out new experiences and are doomed to dwell in their dull and dreary comfort zone.

10. They love the word ‘but’

A negative person might say something positive or even compliment you on your great cooking. They might be happy to find themselves on the beach or in a restaurant. The only problem: They finish their remarks with the ‘but’ word, turning this positive into a negative. You get remarks like “It looks like a great restaurant but I wonder why you didn’t book a table outside” or “It’s a lovely beach but there are always too many people around.”

11. They are underachievers

Lack of success could be due to many factors, but negativity is a main cause. Negative people usually think they are not smart enough, athletic enough, or good enough. But the real threat to their success is that their emotional intelligence is crippled by their often critical and confrontational manner. Additionally, they will regale you with stories of how difficult people were, how they would never collaborate and how  impossible it was to get anywhere with them.

Advertising

If they had been just a bit more positive, you think, they might have got somewhere!

12. They never get excited about future projects

Have you noticed that those who are negative can never talk about future plans or projects in a positive way? Actually, they rarely talk about plans at all because they are too wrapped up in their present misery. As a positive person, you have dreams. You have projects and visions of what your future will be like. You are on an open highway while they are stuck in a dark tunnel.

13. They become energy vampires

In addition to being demanding, negative people suck out all your energy, just like a vampire. They are simply incapable of producing any positive energy and will absorb your attention, time, and energy as they proceed to drag you down the negativity spiral.

14. They miss out on the good things of life

A negative person will hardly recognize joy, passion, contentment and excitement. These are not emotions or sensations that they regularly experience.

Of course, this is hardly surprising when considering these persons are fixated on their unsatisfying jobs, relationships and social status.

15. They put a negative spin on good news

You are excited to share great news about your dream job, engagement or a new house. But when you want to tell a negative person, you hesitate. Why? You know that they will always find a way to make it sound negative. They will caution you to be careful, warn you of the dangers and tell you to think carefully before accepting.

The best way to deal with all this negativity is to thank your lucky stars that you are positive and that you have overcome most of the negativity in your life. The more negative a person is, the happier you can be that you are not like them – and you will be extra careful about getting caught in their web.

Editors’ Picks on Psychology & Communication

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

Write A Personal Mission Statement to Achieve Your Goal More Easily 10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated) 7 Things You Can Do to Deal with Low-Energy Days 40 Powerful Productivity Quotes From Highly Successful People 10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

Trending in Communication

1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

Advertising

1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

Advertising

3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

Advertising

It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

Advertising

Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next